Back to Our Roots: Plant Eating Challenge

A Nutrition Challenge for the IU Community
September 20-October 11

colorful fruits and veggies
(Registration is now closed . . . if you didn't get a chance to sign up for the online tracker, you can still participate with this PDF tracker!)

It's time to thrive! Back to Our Roots is a 3-week challenge to add a wide variety of plant-based foods to your meals and snacks. The goal is for participants to explore new plant-based foods and enjoy more of their old favorites.

During the challenge, participants will log the different kinds of plant-based foods they eat in their Personal Online Tracker. They'll also receive helpful nutrition tips and information from Healthy IU. Back to Our Roots is not about depriving or cutting out any foods that you currently enjoy. Just make sure you leave room for all the plants you'll be trying!

 Plant-based foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Grains
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Beans & Legumes
  • Herbs & Spices

Note: If you are currently following a special diet as part of the treatment or management of a disease or condition, please speak with your doctor before participating in the Back to Our Roots challenge.

Learn more about Back to Our Roots below!

  • Why Focus on Plant-Based Foods?

    Plant-based foods help us thrive from head to toe! Here are just a few reasons:

    • Often times, people think that improving their diet means eating less of certain things or overall. By focusing this challenge on plants, we are able to have a focus of more, not less.  We hope you feel great about including more of something in your diet!
    • Every plant food contains a unique combination of health-promoting compounds called phytonutrients. There are literally thousands of different phytonutrients found in nature, and eating a variety of plants is a great way to include more of them in your diet.
    • The fiber contained in plant foods feeds the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract (gut bacteria). Eating a variety of plants helps to promote a healthy diversity of bacterial species.
    • Plants are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals. Just like with phytonutrients, you can't get everything you need from just one or two plants.
    • Whole plant foods are great for our minds and bodies! They have been shown to help us reduce risk of chronic disease, and improve mood and overall quality of life.
  • Incentive

    ***As of September 13, all incentives have been spoken for. Thank you!***

    Full-time IU employees and their spouses on an IU-sponsored medical plan are eligible to receive a Healthy IU lunch bag when they register for the challenge. First come, first served. While supplies last.

  • How Do I Participate?

    Participating in Back to Our Roots is as easy as 1-2-3!

    1. Register here!
    2. Look for an e-mail from Healthy IU on September 20, 2021, the first day of the challenge. The e-mail will have a link to your Personal Online Tracker.
    3. During the challenge, September 20-October 11, log the different types of plant-based foods you've eaten in your Personal Online Tracker. 
    • If you'd like a tracker you can print out and keep handy, you can download it here. Just be sure to update your online tracker, too!

    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us at

  • Host Your Own Plant Party!

    Plant Party Pitch-In!

    Your department or group can host your own Plant Party anytime. 

    1. Choose a date, time, and location convenient for your group. 
    2. Pass around the Pitch-In Sign Up Sheet to your group. 
    3. Make sure to share this flyer and/or this presentation about the power of plants!
    4. Host your Party and HAVE FUN while you discover delicious plant-based dishes.

    Take photos at your Plant Party, or make copies of your favorite plant-based recipes, and send them to so we can share with other participants!

    Suggested Pitch-In Recipes

    These recipes can help get your party started! But feel free to make your own favorites!

  • Additional Resources

    Nutrition Nuggets
    Wednesdays, September 1-December 15
    12:30-1:00 p.m. (ET) / 11:30 a.m.-Noon (CT)
    Register now »

    Join Registered Dietitian Steven Lalevich on Wednesdays for a nutrition conversation via Zoom. Each week, we’ll explore a nutrition topic and open up the dialogue for Q&A. No need to attend every session; join us when you can.

    Cooking with Katie: Easy Chickpea Curry
    Thursday, September 23
    Noon-1:00 p.m. (ET) / 11:00 a.m.-Noon (CT)
    Register now »

    Join IU Student Health Center registered dietitian, Katie Shepherd, on a live culinary adventure via Zoom! In this session, Katie will show you how to prepare an easy chickpea curry that will be sure to wake up your taste buds. The recipe includes lots of plants to help you achieve your Back to Our Roots challenge goals!


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Get answers to frequently asked questions here.